Libeskind’s Swiss Westside project celebrates its first anniversary with huge success
Westside, a centre for leisure and shopping in Bern-Brünnen, is an urban scale architecture project totalling 1.5 million sq ft. In addition to the 55 shops, 10 restaurants and bars, hotel, multiplex cinema, water slides with wellness centre and housing, this mixed-use program radically reinvents the concept of shopping, entertainment and living.
The development acts as an exciting gateway into the city of Bern as it dramatically positions itself over the major highway and the building design integrates the landscape and the different directions of the site while providing a unique look to the external areas. Extensive window cuts in varying designs open up the facade. One of the challenges of the project was whether Westside could bring in the kind of visitor numbers that would prove to be sustainable for years to come. In its first year since opening, Westside has seen 4.2 million visitors, and about 15,000-25,000 visitors per day, as well as bringing in impressive first year earnings of 180 million Swiss francs, a number which clearly demonstrates that visitors to the Centre are also shoppers.